Indonesia: Theological Training

Nine Indonesian churches are members of the EMS Fellowship. They and their congregations are all faced with both minor and major challenges.

Whether it is a matter of a lack of teaching materials, the remote location of congregations or interfaith dialogue, the churches need well trained employees who intercede for their fellow countrymen and can support and accompany them by their ministry. Four projects which EMS is supporting are to do with theological training in Indonesia.

Practical theology for volunteer workers

Since 2010, the Indonesian Protestant Church in Donggala (GPID) has offered further training courses for volunteer workers and pastors. The church has a colourful mixture of different ethnic groups and immigrants. The workshops teach the women and men how they can give their support to their congregations. Practical exercises help the participants to better understand and implement the theoretical knowledge they have learned.

The Evangelical Church of South Sulawesi is a small church situated in the middle of a Muslim region. Interfaith dialogue, encounters with Muslims as well as the poverty of the congregations are a major challenge. During the further training courses which the church offers, church full-time employees and volunteers learn new methods on how to deal with these issues in everyday life. They try out strategies for conflict management and learn new approaches to ministry and community work.

Evangelists and catechists for Mamasa

Many of the congregations in the Toraja Highland on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi lie a good two to four hours walk on foot apart. Since the female and male pastors often serve several congregations, many volunteers help to organise worship services and events. The Toraja Mamasa Church (GTM) trains a total of 850 volunteers to support the evangelists and catechists in their work. The training courses provide participants with comprehensive knowledge in practical theology and interpretation of the Bible. This helps them to stand by their fellow countrymen in the search for Christian answers to economic, cultural and ecological problems. The aim of the GTM is to train two spiritual assistants in all their congregations.

Teaching materials for confirmation classes

The Indonesia Protestant Church in Luwu (GPIL) has no textbooks for teaching in their congregations. As a result many Christians in the Luwu Church have no solid basis of knowledge for their faith. The new project which the church started in 2017 attempts to solve this problem and to provide teaching materials for confirmation classes with well trained teaching staff.

First the church reaches out to pastors and religion teachers and then selects a pool of 15 female and male authors. They first receive training which teaches them to process the topics to suit the target groups. At the end of the course the team collects materials and then has them printed - 236 books find a new home in 118 congregations. In addition the female and male confirmation teachers receive a four-day further training course. There they learn new methods to provide better teaching for their pupils.

Further training courses for vicars

Pastors and vicars are the points of contact for congregation members in the Indonesian churches. They support congregation members with family, health or economic problems and stand by them with their ministry.

For many years, the Theological Institute of the Toraja Church (ITGT) has been a further training academy for vicars and pastors and is acknowledged far beyond the confines of the church. During the seminars of the three-year vicariate, the students work on case studies from their ministry, discuss successes in their congregation work and exchange their experiences regarding problems and challenges. The aim is to support the vicars in their work so that they can provide answers to current social and economic challenges in their congregations.

The Indonesian churches are committed to the theological training of their members. Join us in helping them!